Since its original inception, over four short years ago, London’s Free Range Records has garnered a hefty following of fans and admirers, drawn to the label’s fusion of jazz instrumentation and improvisation with genre-crossing electronic music. On Scrambled, label head Jamie Odell (aka Jimpster) has carefully selected 12 of Free Range’s most dynamic and diverse releases, and beautifully blends them together in this soulful release.
Somehow, Scrambled crosses musical boundaries without the listener ever noticing. This disc jumps from the abstract downtempo styles of Yenneh (with “Encounter”) and Marasma (“Pimp in Velvet”) to Human Technology’s “Room 7,” a diva-driven jazzy jungle (much more jazz than jungle) track. The ever versatile and consistent Yenneh’s “Dyadic Shift” is the true highlight of the disc — a chilled out breakbeat piece with beautiful female vocal drones and spaced-out tribal percussion, and Audiomontage’s “Barracuda” follows along the same path, immersed in jazz. Jimpster’s own “Wildlight” is a bossa nova-esque song with zigzaging flutes, and jazz-driven guitar. After a brief stint into traditional style acid jazz (Audiomontage’s “Snert” and Reverie’s “Back and Forth”), Jimpster brings things back to a full circle with more abstract beat (Audiomontage’s “Abyss” and Marasma’s “Enigma of the Day”). Scrambled is one of those albums that just blows you away the first time, and only gets better with age. If this disc is any indication of the future of Free Range Records, I think things are looking very, very bright.